Saturday, December 10, 2022

Vikram’s box office success proves that the new generation of Kollywood can’t beat Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth

Vikram, Kamal Haasan’s first release in four years, has emerged as one of the most successful Tamil films of all time. The film has already done well 364 crores worldwide and is the highest grossing Tamil film of the year. Having delivered yet another number one film of the year in Tamil cinema, Kamal Haasan now owns an unusual and impressive record. He is only the second actor in the Tamil film industry to deliver the highest-grossing film of the year in five different decades. The only other person to do so in Tamil cinema is also a well-known name – Rajinikanth. Read also: Vikram box office: Kamal Haasan’s film ready to cross 400 crores, the highest grossing film of the actor’s career

In seven of the last ten years, a film starring either of them has been the biggest hit of the year in Tamil cinema. And interestingly, the other three years have seen bilingual films – two Baahubali films and Saaho – gain respect. In short, no Tamil star or film has been able to beat Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan at the box office for over a decade; And that’s when both of these men are in their 60s and 70s. This absolute dominance proves that these two names have remained at the pinnacle of Kollywood despite ageing. The younger generation – I use the term liberally as most of them have been around 20 years themselves – simply have no answer to their stardom.

Rajinikanth Saw His First Major Success In The 1980 Film Billa.
Rajinikanth saw his first major success in the 1980 film Billa.

In 1980, Rajinikanth gave his first solo blockbuster in Badla. The remake of Amitabh Bachchan’s Don, Badla established Rajini as a bankable solo hero. Two years later, Kamal Haasan joined the ranks with his biggest hit of all time – Sakalkala Vallavan. Both these films were the highest grossing Tamil films in the year of release. Since then, both these actors have received this honor many times. As these actors got older, and their box office fortunes dwindled, other Tamil stars took their place. Names like Ajith, Vikram, Vijay and Suriya started dominating the box office.

But to the credit of Kamal and Rajni, it was only a short phase. After 2005, both the actors saw a second wind in their careers. Over the next few years, Kamal gave blockbuster films like Vettaiyadu Vilaiyadu, Dashavatharam and Vishwaroopam. Rajini, on the other hand, acted in big hits like Chandramukhi, Shivaji and Enthiran. After 2013, dominance has been absolute.

After 2005, Both Kamal Haasan And Rajinikanth Got A Second Wind In Their Careers With Hits Like Vishwaroopam And Enthiran.
After 2005, both Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth got a second wind in their careers with hits like Vishwaroopam and Enthiran.

Interestingly, even the so-called ‘new blood’ of Tamil cinema hasn’t done much. They are all in their 40s and 50s now. Ajith’s Valimai was a moderate hit, while Vijay’s Beast earned more 250 crore a few months back. Suriya has done critically acclaimed work in films like Jai Bheem and Soorarai Pottru, but has not been a consistent success at the box office. On the other hand, Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan have given big hits like 2.0. 653 crores) and Vikram (in closed) 400 million). Numbers dwarf all others.

This second innings of both the actors is certainly promising, as their contemporaries and even juniors in other industries have not been able to dominate in the same way. In Telugu cinema, the trio of Chiranjeevi, Nagarjuna and Venkatesh are respected but do not rule the box office completely. He has been surpassed by Prabhas, Ram Charan, Allu Arjun, Mahesh Babu and NT Rama Rao Jr. The last time a senior had the biggest hit of the year was in 2005. Similarly, in Hindi films, Khan no longer rules the roast. The last time any of them gave the biggest film of the year was in 2016. Shah Rukh Khan hasn’t been the industry leader since 2007, when Om Shanti Om was the biggest hit of the year.

The Last Time A Tamil Film Starring Kamal Haasan Or Rajinikanth Was The Number One Film Of The Year, It Was Vijay's Thuppakki In 2012.
The last time a Tamil film starring Kamal Haasan or Rajinikanth was the number one film of the year was Vijay’s Thuppakki in 2012.

Then what is so different in Tamil film industry. The answer lies in the semi-god position Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth enjoy. His film releases are still festivals today. The cities are almost closed, as in previous nights, morning shows start in queues and processions. That’s what a promotional campaign can’t buy. This raises the scale of his film far beyond what other stars can manage. This is the reason why Ajith – one of the biggest actors of the country – despite delivering the biggest hits of his career, earns less than many of Rajini and Kamal’s films. Read also: Rajinikanth’s next film ‘Jailor’, the makers shared the first poster; Fans asked ‘Will it be shot inside the jail’

Whether this uncontested dominance is good for Tamil cinema or not will be decided by some audience and market forces. But it is certain that these two actors will continue to rule the box office as long as they want. His market appeal and mass appeal dictate that even today, people like Vijay Sethupathi and Suriya will have to play a second role for him. Simply put, these two are the Rocky Marciano of Tamil cinema – the undisputed heavyweight champion who never fell, let alone a thrashing.


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